- Lloyd J. Graybar
Christiansen, Jack (20 December 1928–29 June 1986), football player and coach, was born John LeRoy Christiansen in Sublette, Kansas, the son of Leroy Christiansen and Catherine (maiden name unknown). Following a grain elevator accident in 1930 that killed his father, Christiansen briefly lived with his paternal grandparents in Wray, Colorado. During the Great Depression, fearing they could not provide for the education of Jack and his sister, who was two years older, Christiansen’s grandparents arranged for the youngsters to enter the Odd Fellows Orphanage in Canon City, Colorado. Christiansen attended the local schools in Canon City from the third grade on. Six-feet-one and spindly as he reached his teens, Christiansen excelled in football and track in high school, but an accidental gunshot wound to his left arm during his senior year threatened to preclude football thereafter. In 1947 he enrolled at Colorado A & M (now Colorado State University). There he initially confined his participation in sports to track, where he ran the 100-yard dash in 9.8 seconds, tying a school record in the event. He also ran the 220- and 440-yard dashes and was a member of the relay team that won the Skyline Conference title his senior year; for three consecutive years he held the conference’s 440 title. His love for football, however, caused Christiansen to disregard his physician’s advice to avoid contact sports. He made the powerful Colorado A & M football squad as a reserve defensive back his sophomore year but soon became a starting safety. He also returned punts and saw some action at halfback. Carrying the ball mainly on sweeps and reverses, he set a single-game school rushing record that endured for almost twenty years. In the spring of 1951 Christiansen married Doris Erickson, who was studying for a master’s degree in physical education at Colorado A & M. The couple would have four children....